February 13, 2014
Bombardier plans to begin full fly-by-wire (FBW) flights of the CSeries in March.
Since its first flight in September, the all-new narrowbody airliner has been flying in back-up “direct” FBW mode.
The CSeries is Bombardier’s first fly-by-wire aircraft, and the company is moving cautiously. The full “normal” FBW control law, which includes envelope protection, is part of the Block 3 software build.
Ground and flight testing started with software Build 0. The first two flight-test aircraft, FTV1 and FTV2, are now flying in Build 2 standard, Rob Dewar, vice president and general manager for CSeries, tells Aviation Week.
Build 3 has been in ground testing for a month now in Bombardier’s CSeries engineering simulator at Mirabel, near Montreal. The software update will be loaded on to the test aircraft in March, he says.
Bombardier is trying to accelerate the pace of CSeries flight testing, which has been slow to start. Only around 100 hours have been logged since FTV1 flew in Sep. 16 and FTV2 on Jan. 3.
Because of the delays, entry into service of the 110-seat CS100 has been pushed back by at least 12 months to the second half of 2015, followed six months later by the 130-seat CS300.
The company plans to fly each aircraft 30 hr./month in February, 35 hr./month in March and 40 hr./month in April. “We need that level of hours to meet the certification schedule,” says Dewar.
FTV1 started flying with 5,000-ft. ceiling, 5-nm. visibility, runway condition and crosswind limits, and flight testing was relocated to Wichita, Ks., on Jan. 16 for better weather – then a winter storm hit Wichita.